Player ratings / Union

Player ratings: Atlanta United 2-0 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

It was a dreary performance on the road Sunday afternoon for Philadelphia Union, who fell 2-0 to Atlanta United.

The visitors pounced with an early goal from Thiago Almada, and the Union managed just one shot on target as they tried to get back into the game. A late strike from Brooks Lennon sealed the deal.

Author’s note: When I write the player ratings, 5 represents an average performance. Remember, this is a subjective evaluation of each player mapped onto an arbitrary scale, so disagreements of +/- 1 point don’t mean much.

Player ratings

Joe Bendik — 3

Bendik is simply not an MLS-caliber keeper at this point in his career. Nothing he could have done on the first goal, but the second should have been stopped, and he was fortunate that Atlanta smashed most of their shots right at him. The Union can’t get Andre Blake back soon enough. (He’ll miss at least this weekend’s game against the Galaxy; if Jamaica keep winning, he could miss two more.)

Olivier Mbaizo — 5

Not the problem on the afternoon for the Union’s defense.

Jakob Glesnes — 4

Generally a sturdy performance for Philly’s iron man. His ability to chase attackers into midfield helps break up dangerous play. But he was beaten a couple times in 1v1 circumstances, which could have proven costly.

Jack Elliott — 4

Struggled a bit with Atlanta’s speed, made no glaring errors.

Nathan Harriel — 3

Harriel isn’t a left-sided player, and he isn’t a center back, so putting him at left center back and then left back didn’t set him up to succeed. Still, it was a disappointing afternoon, starting with the early foul that gave away Atlanta’s first goal. And the Union couldn’t use his side of the pitch at all as they tried to get back into the game.

Leon Flach — 3

A tough outing for the midfield workhorse. He’s not a left wing back, and that strange tactical choice had his head spinning for the first 30 minutes. Lost Lennon on the second goal.

Jose Martinez — 6

Drew one of the hardest assignments in the league — marking Thiago Almada — and came out the winner more often than not. Martinez is a deserved All-Star.

Alejandro Bedoya – 5

Had a good spell at the start of the second half working down the wing. He’s still crafty and clever, even if his engine isn’t what it used to be. Probably a 60-minute player at this point.

Daniel Gazdag — 3

Really anonymous outing for the Union’s star No. 10. When the Union struggle offensively, it’s often because Gazdag isn’t getting on the ball enough. Needs to put himself in better positions to receive and make something happen.

Mikael Uhre — 3

Looks a bit lost out there right now, not a particularly influential performance.

Julian Carranza — 3

Cut a frustrated figure by the end of the match, not receiving much in the way of service (or doing much of anything when he did get the ball). His defensive work remains top-notch, at least.


Jack McGlynn — 4

Didn’t have much time to impose himself on the match, with Atlanta getting their second goal just a few minutes after he came on the pitch.

Quinn Sullivan — 4

Lots of running in his 20-minute sub appearance but not much to show for it. He’s yet to carve out a consistent role on the team this year.

Joaquin Torres — 3

Torres continues to underwhelm in his cameo appearances, capping off an ineffective 15 minutes here by picking up a petulant yellow card for dissent.

Geiger Counter

Ted Unkel — 3

One of MLS’s most annoying referees, his calls were inconsistent for most of the afternoon. At least he correctly waved off the early penalty award to Atlanta. (In my view, that was a foul by Harriel — and, at the very minimum, calling it a foul was not a clear and obvious error on the pitch.)

Man of the Match — Thiago Almada

There’s a reason this guy could be one of the most expensive outgoing MLS transfers ever. His goal was special, and his assist was impressive too.


  1. The dropoff from Blake to Bendik is huge, which speaks both to Blake’s prowess and Bendiks mediocrity. Letting Freese go,while a noble gesture towards the player, is costing us given how often Blake is away. Agree with the Harriel commentary too, though that’s largely on Curtin. Is he that unsure of Real that we’re better off playing two guys out of position?

    • I thought Real had a decent performance the last time I saw him play. I wondered why Curtin didn’t play him.

  2. Look, I’m no defender of Bendik, but 3 is harsh. On the second goal, he was way on the other side of the net and had to come all the way across. And where was our defense? Not sure even Blake would have saved that.

    Also, this is another episode in the ongoing Gazdag’s “I can’t figure out how to play on turf” saga. He just can’t figure it out, and he’s not the only one.

    Curtin as well deserves a 2. Formation and player selection sucked. And he clearly didn’t spend enough time during the week coaching Harriel on what the game plan was. The kid looked completely lost.

  3. While the thumbnail is from Montreal for some reason, I think it describes this game perfectly.

  4. Deez Nuggs says:

    Martinez and Mbaizo the best two on the pitch. That’s what I saw. I might even give Mbaizo an extra point or two for being up to play.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *